The Next Frontier To LGBT Equality

Securing Workplace Discrimination Protections

Using the momentum from the landmark decision in Obergefell, LGBT advocates have turned their focus onto the fight for employment discrimination protections in the workplace. Although many Americans believe LGBT individuals are protected from employment discrimination under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not ban employers from engaging in discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, there are two prominent federal proposals that would create protections for LGBT employees: the Equality Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”). This Note contends that the Equality Act, which amends Title VII, is better than ENDA because it is superior to stand-alone legislation and affords better protections to LGBT workers. Because of the makeup of Congress, however, this Note further recommends that states take the initiative in developing their own legislation that provides protections to LGBT employees. When enacting these protections, states should turn to the Utah Compromise as an example of how best to achieve a balanced compromise that satisfies both the LGBT community and religious-rights groups.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.